Endowed in perpetuity by the Glenna Luschei Fund for Excellence

Angry Birds and Semiotics--Who Knew?

This is the first in a series of guest posts by Hali Sofala and Eric Jones on the connections between video games and the literary.

The game is simple. All you do is pull back the bird, loaded gormlessly into a giant slingshot. The strain of the digital sling creaks until you’ve built up a quiet momentum. Then, let go.

The bird smacks into a heavy carton of wood and bricks, hopefully moving through and smashing into a green pea-sized pig that erupts deliciously into a plume of smoke. This is all that the game is. And, to a varying extent, all any video game is: a set of digital parameters voluntarily adhered to for enjoyment. But as those parameters widen, they exert a peculiar influence on the literary landscape.

Nikki Giovanni--full interview!

PS Senior Reader Robert Fuglei interviewed Nikki Giovanni for Air Schooner 4. Here's the uncut version--give it a listen!

Charles Baxter on Politics and Fiction

To accompany Air Schooner's new Super Tuesday podcast focusing on politics and the American literary landscape and featuring interviews with Nikki Giovanni and Cynthia Hogue, PS senior reader Bob Fuglei interviewed Charles Baxter, author of The Feast of Love, Saul and Patsy, and Shadow Play, among many other novels, story collections, and works of criticism and craft commentary. Fuglei and Baxter discuss the influence of figures such as Nixon, Bachmann, and Gingrich on contemporary literary discourse, as well as question of politics and the MFA.*

ZZ Packer on Voice in Fiction

courtesy of Beth Wagoner of the UNL English department

As part of her two week long visit to the UNL campus, acclaimed writer ZZ Packer gave a craft talk yesterday on “Voice in Fiction.” Mobilizing several examples across the literary canon from Huckleberry Finn to White Teeth, Packer discussed what makes a work of fiction “highly voiced” (all fictions have voice, Packer said—the level of transparency of that voice is what differs across novels). Highly-voiced narrators, Packer said, de-familiarize our world, making us “recalibrate our assumptions” garnered from previous narratives. These narratives are inter-textual commentaries of sorts, questioning the prior written word, turning away from the standard truth, and perverting “noble” texts. Packer illuminated the way highly voiced narratives give rise to their own particular truth, moving us away from a strictly craft-based definition of voice and toward a more expansive understanding of the implications of this authorial choice.

Spring 2012 Cover Preview

PS Spring 2012

The Spring 2012 issue of Prairie Schooner will be shipping out soon! Perhaps as soon as next week for subscribers.

This is an especially exciting issue, as it marks the first published edition of the journal composed entirely of material edited by Kwame Dawes, our new Glenna Luschei Editor-in-Chief. The issue includes fiction by Sigrid Nunez and Elizabeth Trundle, poetry by Marilyn Hacker, Stephen Ajay, Eric Weinstein, Maureen Seaton, and James Cihlar, and an essay by Eileen Pollack. We're proud to have these writers on board, along with our other great contributors. The cover itself--"Laundromat" by Lori Nix-- is pretty sweet too!

Final

Thanks to everybody who stopped by our book fair table, or made it to one of the readings and panels in which our people participated. AWP was a lot of fun this year. We're grateful to have the opportunity to meet and reconnect with so many great writers and/or people. Plus, we sold out of journals, which isn't too shabby.

The final dispatch comes from Senior Fiction Reader Wendy Oleson. Here's what Wendy has to say about Saturday's session:

Day Three

What was going on at AWP today? Here are dispatches from Kwame Dawes, Ted Wheeler, Claire Harlan-Orsi, and Wendy Oleson.

Day Two

Today's dispatches from the 2012 AWP Conference in Chicago comes to us from Kwame Dawes, Claire Harlan-Orsi, and Wendy Oleson:

It Begins...

Prairie Schooner Table at AWP

The annual AWP Conference began today in Chicago. Although the proceedings do not start in earnest until tomorrow, with a filled-to-the-gills panel and event schedule, there was still plenty going on in the Windy City today.

Editor-in-Chief Kwame Dawes had this to say:

Comics and the Schooner

ATTENTION READERS: NEW CONTRIBUTOR!
This is the first installment of an ongoing series written for the blog by Richard Graham. Richard is an associate professor and media services librarian at the University of Nebraska-Lincoln, where he studies the educational use of comics and serves as the film and art history liaison. He'll be writing posts that examine UNL’s, Nebraska’s, and the larger literary world’s connections with the comics medium. Graham’s recent publication reprints and contextualizes the American government’s use of the comic book medium. Being a librarian, he has an affinity for cats, going so far as to receive a community award (and the occasional hate mail) for his work in spaying and neutering the feral cats that reside on the UNL campus. Welcome, Richard!

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